Michele Diaz

Michele Diaz

Professor of Psychology, Linguistics, and Neuroscience
Director of Human Imaging, Social, Life, and Engineering Sciences Imaging Center (SLEIC)



Research Interests: 
Language is a ubiquitous aspect of human life. Yet we are just beginning to understand the neural infrastructure that supports this complex social and cognitive function. Broadly, my research focuses on age-related differences in language. My lab has examined semantic and phonological aspects of language comprehension and production. Most recently we have been examining neural factors that contribute to age-related decline in language production. We investigate the relations between structural factors (i.e., white matter integrity), functional activations, and behavior.

Recent Publications (*indicates student collaborator):

Cosgrove, A.L.*, Beaty, R.E., Diaz, M.T., Kenett, Y.N. (In Press). Age differences in semantic network structure: acquiring knowledge shapes semantic memory. Psychology & Aging

Diaz, M.T., Zhang, H.*, Cosgrove, A.L.*, Gertel, V.H.*, Troutman, S.B.W.*, & Karimi, H.* (2022). Semantic Neighborhoods Facilitate Language Production Across the Lifespan. Neuropsychologia, 171, 1-11.

Diaz, M.T. & Hernandez, A. (2022). The multifaceted nature of language across adulthood. Brain and Language, 230, 1-3.

Troutman, S.B.W.*, Madden, D.J., & Diaz, M.T. (2022). Cerebral white matter mediation of age-related differences in picture naming across adulthood. Neurobiology of Language.

Kałamała, P., Walther, J., Zhang, H.*, Diaz, M.T., Senderecka, M., & Wodniecka, Z. (2022). Use of a second language enhances the neural efficiency of inhibitory control: an ERP study. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 25(1), 163-180.

Zhang, H.*, Diaz, M.T., Guo, T., & Kroll, J.F. (2021). Language immersion and language training: Two paths to enhanced language regulation and cognitive control. Brain & Language, 223, 1-12.

Karimi, H.* & Diaz, M.T. (2021). Age-related Differences in the Retrieval of Phonologically Similar Words during Sentence Processing: Evidence from ERPs. Brain & Language, 220, 1-17.

Cosgrove, A.L.*, Kenett, Y.N., Beaty, R.E., & Diaz, M.T. (2021). Quantifying flexibility in thought: The resiliency of semantic networks differs across the lifespan. Cognition, 211, 104631. NIHMSID: 1673877.

Diaz, M.T., Karimi, H.*, Troutman, S.B.W.*, Gertel, V.H.*, Cosgrove, A.L.*, & Zhang, H.* (2021). Neural sensitivity to phonological characteristics is stable across the lifespan. Neuroimage, 225, PMCID: PMC7812596.

Zhang, H.*, Gertel, V.H.*, Cosgrove, A.L.*, & Diaz, M.T. (2021). Age-related differences in resting-state and task-based network measures and cognition. Neurobiology of Aging. NIHMSID: 1654326.

Gertel, V.H.*, Karimi, H.*, Dennis, N.A., Neely, K.A., & Diaz, M.T. (2020). Lexical frequency affects functional activation and accuracy in word naming among older and younger adults. Psychology & Aging, 35(4), 536–552. NIHMSID: 1564015.

Karimi, H.* & Diaz, M.T. (2020). When phonological neighborhood density both facilitates and impedes: Age of acquisition and name agreement interact with phonological neighborhood during word production. Memory & Cognition, 48, 1061-1072. NIHMSID: NIHMS1591396.

Gertel, V.H.*, Zhang, H.*, & Diaz, M.T. (2020). Stronger right hemisphere functional connectivity supports executive aspects of language in older adults. Brain & Language, 206. NIHMSID: 1583813.

Troutman, S.B.W.* & Diaz, M.T. (2019). White matter disconnection is related to age-related phonological deficitsBrain Imaging & Behavior.

Zhang, H.*, Eppes, A.*, & Diaz, M.T. (2019). Task difficulty modulates age-related differences in the behavioral and neural bases of language production. Neuropsychologia, 124, 254-273. NIHMSID:1517807 DOI:

Diaz, M.T., Johnson, M.A.*, Burke, D.M., Truong, T., & Madden, D.M. (2018). Age-related differences in the influence of task-irrelevant information on the neural bases of phonological and semantic processes. Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Neuroscience. NIHMSID: 1012404 DOI:

Rossi, E., Newman, S., Kroll, J.F., & Diaz, M.T. (2018). Neural signatures of inhibitory control in bilingual spoken production. Cortex.

Zhang, H.*, Eppes, A.*, Beatty-Martinez, A.*, Navarro-Torres, C.*, &  Diaz, M.T. (2018). Task difficulty modulates brain-behavior correlations in language production and cognitive control: Behavioral and fMRI evidence from a phonological Go – No-Go picture naming paradigm. Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Neuroscience. NIHMSID: 976572

Diaz, M.T., & Eppes, A.* (2018). Factors influencing right hemisphere engagement during metaphor comprehension. Frontiers in Psychology

Gilmore, R.O., Diaz, M.T., Wyble, B.A., & Yarkoni, T. (2017). Progress toward openness, transparency, and reproducibility in cognitive neuroscience. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1396(1), 5–18. PMCID: PMC5545750, NIHMSID: NIHMS878076 DOI: 10.1111/nyas.13325

Rizio, A.A.*, Moyer, K.J.*, & Diaz, M. T. (2017). Neural evidence for phonologically-based language production deficits in older adults: An fMRI investigation of age-related differences in picture-word interference. Brain and Behavior, 15:7(4), 1-19. PMCID: PMC5390840 DOI: 10.1002/brb3.660

Zhuang, J.*, Johnson, M.A.*, Madden, D.J., Burke, D.M., & Diaz, M.T. (2016). Age-related differences in resolving semantic and phonological competition during receptive language tasks. Neuropsychologia, 93(A), 189-199NIHMSID: 828388, PMCID: in progress, doi:

Diaz, M.T., Rizio, A.A.*, & Zhuang, J.* (2016). The neural language systems that support healthy aging: Integrating function, structure, and behavior. Language & Linguistic Compass, 10(7), 314-334. NIHMSID: 805036, PMCID: PMC4955947, doi: 10.1111/lnc3.12199

Rizio, A.A.* & Diaz, M.T. (2016). Language, aging, and cognition: Predicting cognitive performance using age and white matter integrity. Neuroreport, 27(9), 689-93. NIHMSID: 77018, PMCID: PMC4955947, doi: 10.1097/WNR.0000000000000597.

Rossi, E. & Diaz, M.T. (2016). How aging and bilingualism influence language production: theoretical and neural models. Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism, 6(1), 9-42.  NIHMSID: 805039, PMCID: in progress, doi: 10.1075/lab.14029.ros

Diaz, M.T., Johnson, M.A.*, Burke, D.M., & Madden, D. J. (2014). Age-related differences in the neural bases of phonological and semantic processes. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 26(12):1-14. DOI: 10.1162/jocn_a_00665 PMID: 24893737 NIHMSID: 605188 PMCID: PMC4216243

Johnson, M.A.*, Diaz, M.T., & Madden, D.J. (2014). Global versus tract-specific components of cerebral white matter integrity: Relation to adult age and perceptual-motor speed. Brain Structure & Function. NIHMSID: 620459, PMCID: PMC4277942

Diaz, M.T., Hogstrom, L.J.*, Zhuang, J.*, Voyvodic, J.T., Johnson, M.J.* & Camblin, C.C.*. (2014). The influence of written distractor words on brain activity during overt picture naming. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. 8:167, 1-11. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00167, PMID: 24715859 PMCID: PMC3970014

Michele  Diaz